International Organizations Clinic 2013

Accountability for Children’s Rights

Niruphama Ramakrishnan & Paul Mertenskötter

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The world recently commemorated the twenty-sixth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child — the most rapidly and widely ratified human rights treaty in history. By ratifying this instrument, governments committed themselves to respect, protect, and fulfill children’s rights, and to hold themselves accountable for this commitment before the international community. While this commitment has, in the past quarter of a century, been translated into results for children, these results have only been achieved for some children. The fact that 17,000 children under the age of 5 will die today mostly of causes we can prevent, or that nearly 570 million children live in extreme poverty, begs the question of how accountability for child rights commitments made in the General Assembly in New York can be brought closer to the ground. People-led, bottom-up and demand-driven accountability initiatives can make an important contribution towards this.